Brody’s bioethics research earns him election to Institute of Medicine

bioethics research earns him election to Institute of Medicine


Rice News Staff

Baruch A. Brody,
Rice professor of philosophy and the director of the Center
for Medical Ethics and Health Policy, a collaborative effort
of Rice and Baylor College of Medicine, has been elected
to the Institute of Medicine. Brody, who also is the Leon
Jaworski Professor of Biomedical Ethics at Baylor, has been
at Rice since 1975 and chaired the philosophy department
until 1982.

rapid advances in biomedicine hold out luminous promise
for longer and better lives for all,” said Rice President
Malcolm Gillis. “At the same time, technological change
is taking biomedicine into previously uncharted areas of
ethics. Baruch Brody is a national leader in the effort
to assure that ethical implications of health policy, medical
practice and medical research are given attention commensurate
with their importance. Dr. Brody’s work is also an
excellent example of the fruitfulness of collaborative programs
between Rice and Baylor College of Medicine.”

Brody was one
of 60 new members elected to the institute by current active
members for their major contributions to health and medicine
or to related fields, such as social and behavioral sciences,
law, administration and economics. Election to the institute
is considered an honor and an obligation to work on behalf
of the organization in its governance and research.

named a member of the prestigious Institute of Medicine
is a distinction few scholars attain in their careers,”
said Ralph D. Feigin, president and chief executive officer
of Baylor College of Medicine. “This recognition reflects
the high esteem in which Dr. Brody is held in the scientific

Members elected
to the Institute of Medicine devote a significant amount
of time as volunteers on committees engaged in a broad range
of studies on health policy issues. The mission of the institute
is to advance and disseminate scientific knowledge to improve
human health. It is part of the National Academy of Sciences
and provides objective, timely and authoritative information
and advice concerning health and science policy to government,
the corporate sector, the professions and the public.

The author or
editor of 24 volumes and 120 articles and chapters, Brody
currently is writing a new book about intellectual property
in biotechnology.

Brody has received
four grants from the Office of Technology Assessment of
the U.S. Congress for his research in biomedical ethics.
He has served on five data safety and monitoring boards
for the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and currently
serves on a similar board for the AIDS Clinical Trials Group.
In addition, he has headed the NASA Bioethics Policy Task
Force and currently is a member of the Howard Hughes Medical
Institute Bioethics Advisory Board. He has served on the
national board of the American Philosophical Association,
is a fellow of the Hastings Center and is a past president
of the Society for Health and Human Values.

Director of the
ethics program at Methodist Hospital, Brody is the principal
investigator of the “Protecting Scientific Integrity
Through Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest” study
funded by NASA and of the “Ethical Issues in Emergency
Research” study funded by the National Institutes of
Health (NIH). He is a co-investigator for two additional
studies, “Enhancing the Autonomy of Vulnerable Subjects
of Research” funded by the NIH and “Patient Preferences
in End-Stage Prostrate Cancer” funded by the Department
of Veterans Affairs.

Brody helped
found a new Baylor-Rice collaboration — the Program
on Biotechnology, Religion and Ethics. The program will
embark on a study, funded by a major grant from the Ford
Foundation, entitled “Altering Nature: How Religious
Traditions Assess the New Biotechnology.” This study
explores ways in which religious responses to biotechnology
are shaped by different views of nature and how those responses
influence public policy. As chair of the study’s coordinating
committee, he will help lead the effort to determine the
key areas of research for the study before launching 10
working groups of 35 scholars who will produce detailed
reports about religious attitudes to various areas of biotechnology.

trying to get a better understanding of what it really means
to change nature and why various groups have thought this
was a bad thing or a good thing,” Brody said. “We
hope that this will lead to a better understanding between
religious communities and the world of biotechnology.”

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